FTC: Fair Credit Reporting Act Still Top Priority

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The Federal Trade Commission testified on Thursday (July 12) that enforcement of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) remains a top priority.

“FCRA enforcement continues to be a top priority for the Commission. With the advent in 2011 of the Bureau’s supervisory authority over the nationwide credit bureaus and the coordination efforts between the agencies, the FTC has focused its FCRA law enforcement efforts on other entities in the credit reporting area and other aspects of the consumer reporting industry more broadly,” said Maneesha Mithal, associate director of the FTC’s Division of Privacy and Identity Protection.

She noted that FTC has brought more than 30 actions to enforce the FCRA against consumer reporting agencies, users of consumer reports, and furnishers of information to consumer reporting agencies.

In addition, the testimony reviewed the agency’s efforts to protect consumer privacy and promote data security, bringing more than 60 law enforcement actions against companies that allegedly engaged in unreasonable data security practices.

During testimony before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, she also outlined its efforts to educate consumers and businesses about the law’s requirements.

FCRA requirements for consumer reporting agencies include: following reasonable procedures to ensure they only provide consumer report information to those with a “permissible purpose” for receiving it; maintaining reasonable procedures to ensure the maximum possible accuracy of the information; and allowing consumers to dispute and correct information in their consumer reports.

The Commission educates consumers and businesses on their rights and obligations under the FCRA by creating materials such as the Start with Security and Stick with Security initiatives, and the Protecting Personal Information: A Guide for Business.

In addition, the FTC also provides publishing guidance for those who report information about consumers to consumer reporting agencies, including Consumer Reports: What Information Furnishers Need to Know.

The Commission vote approving the testimony and its inclusion in the formal record was 5-0.

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